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June 19, 2014

Widespread Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse

The abuse of prescription drugs continues to be the fastest growing type of substance abuse and the effects are growing and touching more and more people. Despite the fact that it now should be well known that the opioid prescription drugs are addictive, most people who get caught in the addiciton, will say that they did not know that getting off of these drugs would be a problem. Many people end up having to check into a long term drug rehabilitation center to beat the addiction.

There is a new word now that are used by medical people and people addicted to prescription drugs. It is "dependence". I believe that both doctors and those who fall into being addicted to precription drugs refuse to use the word addict so they use the word "dependent" when the addiction has come about because of a medical issue. Whether you call it addiction or dependency, the result is the same. There are, of course, many medical situations where the opioid prescription drugs are needed. The problem arises when the pain is gone but he person still continues to use the drugs because of the terrible withdrawal symptoms they have to face when they set out to quit using.

An organization called Addiction Treatment Forum recently published an article on the widespread effect of prescription drugs. It is called "Who is being hurt by the growing prescription drug abuse." This is a summary as well as my viewpoint and comment.

When celebrities loose their lives because of prescription drug abuse, it gets major media attention, which could make it look like the problem is mainly in the upper class. That, however is not the case. Prescription drug abuse are on the rise across the communities all over America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug overdoses has more than tripled since 1990 and most of that increase is from prescription drugs. 14,800 people died from prescription drug abuse in 2008.

New information is emerging showing that prescription drugs are now a major gateway to heroin abuse. It seems that about 80 percent of heroin users start off abusing painkillers. Following is a quote from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Prescription opioid pain medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin can have effects similar to heroin when taken in doses or in ways other than prescribed, and they are currently among the most commonly abused drugs in the United States."

In my personal experience in helping people find treatment, I often encounter people who started substance abuse because of a medical condition and then end up on heroin. Some people have told me that once their prescriptions for the painkillers run out, they start buying them illegally in the street. Pills apparently are more expensive than heroin, so they start using heroin rather than pills.

There is a wide segment of America's population that is being affected by the rapid increase of prescription drug abuse. According to Addiction Treatment Forum those who are being affected and hurt include.

1. Teens and young adults

Dr. Robert Winokur of Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo says that our kids are dying. He points out that the young people being lost to precription drugs and are good kids. It includes cheerleaders, athletes and A students. Dr Wniokur points out how terrible it is to loose youth in their twenties to a preventable illness.

The video includes specific stories of young people in Orange County, California, who start prescription drug abuse and then turned to heroin because it is cheaper. This is often with fatal consequences.

Young people often start their prescription drug abuse from the medicine cabinet of their parents or grandparents. It is vital for anyone to keep their prescription drugs locked up safely.

4. Veteran
Opiate prescriptions given to soldiers who are coming home from war has had a staggering increase since 9/11. A CIR investigation found that there had been an increase of 270% between 2001 and 2012. This resulted in many deaths.

3. Health care providers

A national review conducted by USA Today shows "more than 100,000 healthcare providers including nurses, doctors, health care aides, etc are addicted to prescription drugs. This of course puts patients at risk. It is believed that this number is incorrect and that there are in fact more heathcare providers who are abusing prescription drugs.

4. Women

Men are more likely to die from prescription overdoes than women, but this gap is closing very quickly and the percentage of women dying is increasing more than men.

Many women get opiate prescription drugs prescribed to them for various ailments and before they know it, they realize that they cannot function without the drug. Some of them have some idea of this when they start using the drug but many say they had no idea. We speak to many who seek treatment and especially women are usually very embarased about having to seek treatment for subsance abuse. Therefore they often wait to seek help until they are very deep in the abuse and may have developed many other problems including financial problems, lies and secrets towards their family and friends.

There are of course other categories of people affected by prescription drugs, but the above are some of the main ones where this epidemic is causing a lot of hurt. These are the people who are directly affected and if we look at families and friends who are touched by this problem also, we can write a whole new article.

We are here to help anyone who need treatment or who is seeking treatment for someone.

Call us for help to find a long term drugs rehab center. 888-871-7060