Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

America is a nation of pill poppers.  In 2017, over 4 billion—yes, billion—retail prescription drugs were filled at pharmacies, according to the Kaiser Foundation.  Fueling these numbers is the continual onslaught of pharmaceutical commercials that beckon consumers to take a pill for this and a pill for that, each with a long list of adverse side effects rattled off while images of happy, healthy people fill the screen.

Prescription medications bled into the realm of recreational drug abuse decades ago, becoming an issue back in the 1960s with amphetamines and barbiturates and eventually growing in to a national drug epidemic in recent years.  Synthetic opioids have laid waste to countless lives over the past decade, punctuating a health crisis that has finally gotten the attention of the public at large.  Facts about prescription drug abuse and addiction are available and should be widely distributed in hopes that this dangerous trend can be reversed.

Which Prescription Drugs are Abused Most?

An estimated 54 million adults over age 12 were involved in illicit recreational prescription drug use, or the abuse of prescription drugs with or without a prescription in 2014.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, young adults ages 18-25 represent the largest portion of prescription drug abusers.  Overall, the prescription drugs most often abused include:

  • Opioids, a class of prescription analgesics, including oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxymorphone (Opana), morphine (Avinza, Kadian), codeine, fentanyl and others.
  • Sedatives, or central nervous system depressants, including benzodiazepines (Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, Halcion, Prosom), sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata, and barbiturates (Mebaral, Luminal, Nembutal).
  • Stimulants, used to increase concentration, energy levels, and elevate blood pressure and heart rate, including dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).

Know the Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

In addition to the high rates of prescription drug abuse among young adults, other interesting facts about prescription drug abuse and addiction are notable.  Women’s rates of abusing prescription drugs and overdosing are climbing faster than men’s rates.  Within the adolescent group, girls outpace boys in rates of prescription medication misuse.

Older Americans, ages 57-85, are also misusing prescription medications.  Among the older group, misuse can be unintentional due to the number of prescription medications they are using.  However, some seniors are misusing the medications by mixing alcohol with, say, sedatives, which can have serious health implications.  Older people experience metabolic changes that diminish the body’s ability to metabolize the drug.  Drinking alcohol while the effects of the medication are still present can present a health risk.

Getting Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction

After a supervised medical detox is completed, individuals seeking to overcome an addiction to prescription medications will embark on a treatment program where behavioral therapies are used to help change addictive behaviors.  Through individual and group therapy sessions, the individual will learn to identify the things that prompt the urge to use the drugs, and then make changes to the behavioral responses.

In rehab there is a variety of different types of therapy, each providing an opportunity for positive change.  Biofeedback, non 12 step or 12-step recovery groups, mindfulness training, classes that teach about addiction and how to prevent relapse are all part of the rehabilitation program.  Following completion of an inpatient or outpatient program, the individual can receiving ongoing support through N.A. or A.A. as well as outpatient counseling.

The Treatment Specialist Can Locate Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction

The Treatment Specialist is an important resource for individuals who are in need of addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one.  Pill addiction often ramps up fast, creating a sense of urgency about getting treatment, which can stall out while attempting to sift through hundreds of different rehabs.

The Treatment Specialist can expedite the process through their free assessment tool that allows the specialists to efficiently locate the best treatment program for your specific needs and preferences.  The locator service and an insurance benefit review are both free of charge as well.  For help understanding the facts about prescription drug abuse and addiction, and to get immediate assistance in finding help, contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.

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