Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States. Painkillers and other forms of mind-altering substances can be habit-forming, creating an addiction that’s difficult to overcome. Although you may believe you and your family are safe from the effects of this problem, you could inadvertently help the statistics rise. Many people who have medication stolen from them don’t realize it’s missing until it’s too late.
Are You Abusing Prescription Drugs?
Prescription drugs can be considered more dangerous to the average user based on the ease of acquiring the medication. It’s not uncommon for an addict to hop from one doctor to another to get a specific prescription for a problem in a single day. Although a large portion of addicts realize they have a problem and are unwilling to do anything about it, many people taking prescription drugs don’t realize the development of an addiction.
If you continue to take painkillers out of habit more so than for pain relief, you may have developed a dependency. Although the pain may be gone, you may convince yourself that the painkiller is necessary to prevent the pain from coming back. Most individuals in such a situation don’t really need the prescription, as the complications that caused the pain in the first place have been completely healed. However, an addict doesn’t examine the situation rationally and may only care about the next fix.
The Increase in Prescription Drug Abuse in the United States
Every year, more teens die from prescription drug overdose than using some of the worst street drugs. Part of this is due to the fact that various forms of medication are easier to obtain than the likes of heroin or cocaine. Parents, grandparents, friends and other family members can easily be a source of prescription drugs whether they’re aware or not. An unlocked medicine cabinet offers an addict a smorgasbord of potential drugs. Another aspect to these overdoses is personal physiology. The amount of drugs that works for one individual should never be a gauge for determining how much a person can take – especially if the prescription isn’t for the one taking the medication.
Painkillers and stimulants are among the prescription drugs most commonly abused in the United States. This is due to the very nature of the drugs themselves. Painkillers provide the euphoric and relaxing feeling that many people associate with opioids, while stimulants offer the same effects as cocaine but to a lesser degree. Although these prescription medications have been deemed safe by officials, they can still be abused just like any other substance of greater caliber.
Approximately 75 percent of overdose-related deaths are attributed to opioids. Many people take more than the prescribed dosage in order to feel a deeper sense of relaxation. These deaths are often accidental, as the individual either forgets he has taken the pills already or the pain is still present. If pain persists after taking the medication, a physician should be sought immediately to prevent the risk of overdose and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription drug overdose quadrupled between 1999 and 2011. Of these medications, opioids and mood-altering drugs had the highest fatality rates. Xanax, Klonopin and similar medications contributed greatly to this abuse during the last decade. Although the deaths among teens and young adults declined, addiction and abuse remain widespread problems for this demographic.
The greatest increase of fatalities from overdose on prescription medication was in those ranged 55 to 65 years of age. However, many of the deaths were attributed to misuse of the drugs or from the misdiagnosis of pain and anxiety. The elderly can be especially at risk for medication abuse, as many physical problems can prevent a pain-free lifestyle. Chronic pain syndrome, arthritis and even anxiety can be difficult to treat in an elderly patient. Doctors often treat these older individuals with medication, which can increase the risk of misuse and abuse.
In 2013, a study showed that as many as 100 overdoses happened on a daily basis. This means that prescription medications have proven to be more dangerous than firearms. Even car accidents pale in comparison to the number of those suffering from drug abuse. To put the scenario into perspective, this equates to one person overdosing on medication every 15 minutes. Every 30 minutes, one of those individuals dies from the experience.
Since 1991, hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions have risen by nearly 300 percent. Although other painkilling formulations have been used since 2013, these habit-forming substances are still dispensed at a rate of over 200 million prescriptions each year. In many of these cases, the drugs help with pain management; unfortunately, a large number of individuals will become addicted to the way these drugs make them feel.
In the United States alone, more than 23 million people ages 12 and up need help with substance abuse. However, not everyone gets the help they need, as less than 300,000 will receive that treatment. Of those receiving help for their addictions, approximately 30 percent are under the age of 30.
Help Can Be Yours With One Simple Call
Prescription drug addiction can be very difficult to overcome. However, you’re not alone and there are people out there who can help you get clean and sober. Trained professionals and therapists make careers of caring for and assisting those in dire straits. If you suffer from prescription drug abuse, please call the hotline today at: 800-447-9081. You can break free from the habit and give yourself a normal life. Everyone is worth saving – you just need to have faith in yourself.