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Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs as the name suggests are medicines that are prescribed by a qualified physician. These are meant to help people, but amazingly some 48 million people aged 12 years and above have abused prescription drugs. This number represents approximately one in five of the American population.

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the abuse of prescription drugs by people of all ages which has caused an immense amount of suffering including numerous deaths.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, states that there are three categories of prescription drugs that are often abused, and these include:

Opioids – used in pain management

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants -  also known as benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, that help in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.

Adderall or Ritalin –these stimulants are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. They are powerful stimulants.

Reasons for the Rise in Prescription Drug Abuse

There are many reasons which have led to the current epidemic of the abuse of prescription drugs. One of the reasons is that more people have an increased opportunity to misuse the medications. Many more doctors are writing prescriptions for drugs such as CNS depressants, opioids, and stimulants. There are now many online pharmacies that can dispense these highly addictive drugs. The online pharmacies are selling drugs in large quantities and they are often selling them without knowing if it is to young people or others who have not been prescribed these medications.

An examination of the causes for the increasing number of drug abuse cases produces some unexpected results. Many teens in the US steal dangerous medications from their families medicine cabinets. Now young people do not have to buy street drugs but they can use drugs they can find at home to get high. They are even organizing prescription parties. At these, parties, teens gather at a friend’s place, put stolen prescription pills in a bowl, and select a pill that they believe will give them a great high. These teenagers believe that because they are prescription drugs that they are not dangerous or addictive. These drugs are very addictive and if mixed with alcohol they can lead to a fatal overdose.

With the rise in the abuse of prescribed drugs especially among the young there is a need to be aware of the treatments that are available for those addicted to prescription drugs. 

What Causes Addiction?

Some factors for addiction include a person’s genetics, age, social environment, and their stage of development. No one factor can result in an addiction, rather it is usually a combination of factors that lead to an addiction. However, the more risk factors there are the more likely a person is to develop a dependency on a medication. The social environment is often as important as a person’s genetic predisposition to addiction. If a person experiments with drugs at a young age then they are more likely to become addicted to powerful drugs such as Oxycontin.

Below is a list of recommendations that can reduce the risk of addiction.

Always follow the prescription medication instructions.

Always contact a doctor if you feel that you are thinking about the drug a lot.

Don’t increase or decrease medication doses without consulting your physician.

Don’t crush or break pills as this can make them more potent and therefore addictive.

Be aware of the drugs impact on your daily activities such as driving.

Always tell your doctor if you are using the drugs in a non-prescribed way.

It is important that you never allow anyone else to take your medication.

Why Do Some People Become Addicted and Others Don’t?

There are definite risk factors for addiction and these include biology and social factors. The more risk factors you have, the greater chance of addiction. It is now known that having a history of addiction within a family can lead to a greater chance of addiction.  Then there are also factors such as peer pressure and the inability to cope with stress and traumas.

Are There Some Guidelines for Using Prescription Drugs Safely?

The following are recommended by the FDA and they can help to prevent addiction to prescribed drugs.

Follow the directions on the medicine carefully and only take the stated dosage.

If you want to stop or increase your dosage always ask your doctor first.

Never stop taking medication without consulting your physicians.

Do not crush or break pills.

Be aware of the drug’s impact on driving and other routine tasks.

It is important that you try and avoid taking prescription medicines while also consuming alcohol and taking other prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Talk honestly with your doctor about any past problems with dependency.

Never take another person’s medications or share your own medications with others.

Suboxone is the best treatment to help those who are addicted to some opium-based drugs such as Oxycontin.